Next: How Ideas Can Stall
THE BREAKOUT SUCCESS STORY OF DOCUMENT CLOUD, A PLATFORM TO HELP REPORTERS ANNOTATE AND SHARE SOURCE DOCUMENTS
1. A Need You Can Feel. DocumentCloud identified a clear need that journalists understood and provided an accessible solution
2. Change in Bite-size Pieces. The grand vision of openly sharing source documents was built with familiar entry points. Reporters could upload and annotate files privately, and make them public later when they felt comfortable.
3. Energizing an Open Source Community. In addition to the Main DocumentCloud application, the project spawned 8 open source code modules that have become significant components of projects across the web.
4. Beta Test in a Native Environment. Being embedded in the NYTimes and ProPublica infused the project with an intimate understanding of newsrooms and provided a lab for honing critical features.5. Eliminate the Technology Hurdles Documentcloud didn’t require newsrooms to host documents or agree to a formal use policy. Newsrooms didn’t have to run and maintain software on thei servers which meant those with limited technical capacity could still adopt the tools.
6. Build for the Flood. Providing extra server capacity for big news days helped DocumentCloud take advantage of mainstream exposure and publicly validate its assumption of reader engagement with source documents.